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These days, I'm the director of the American Library Association' s Office for Intellectual Freedom. I'm also executive director and secretary of the Freedom to Read Foundation. See "About Me" for contact information.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Union Station, Chicago


civic cathedral:
big benches almost empty
at Union Station



I can still remember -- particularly around major holidays -- when Union Station was packed. There were throngs of people, all ages. Train stations had a grandeur and civic significance that airports really don't. In Chicago at the recent ALA conference, I visited the station and although the building seems lovingly restored, it was nearly deserted, as this photo records.

The other thing I love is that the broad marble steps into the station are scooped out -- the weight of millions of footsteps.

2 comments:

Suzanne said...

I remember other "scooped out" marble steps in Illinois: the main entrance to the UI-UC library and the steps to the Art Institute. I always loved thinking about the thousands of others who had preceeded me as I went up those stairs.

datamuse said...

Last year I went to Greece. My hotel in Athens was in the Plaka, a touristy area near the Acropolis. I remember visiting a Roman-era agora (marketplace or gathering place) my first day in town and seeing scooped-out marble steps there, as well. Imagine how many thousands of feet have gone up and down those stairs!